A walk around The Crystal, the world’s largest urban sustainability centre in east London

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

Boldly billed as “London’s newest landmark building and the world’s first centre dedicated to improving our knowledge of urban sustainability,” The Crystal forms a striking, angular, dark glass construction.

Located in the Royal Victoria Docks, east London, the centre is fairly easy to access, although the best way to visit is by taking a trip across the Thames in the cable car from North Greenwich.

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

Opened in September 2012, The Crystal is a ‘sustainable cities’ initiative by German multinational engineering and electronics conglomerate company Siemens.

Given that company’s less than salubrious past, it’s probably a good idea to keep Greenwash Detectors on full alert during your visit..

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

That said, it’s still an entertaining way to pass away an hour or so, although there’s so many different exhibits and pulsating lights it can get a bit overwhelming at times.

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The exhibition is made up of ten zones, namely:

  • Creating Cities
  • Smart Buildings
  • Safe and Sound
  • Go Electric
  • Water is Life
  • Healthy Life
  • Clean and Green
  • Keep Moving
  • Future Life Forces Of Change Theatre.

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

I really liked this multi-screen video presentation in the grandly named Forces Of Change Theatre.

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

There was no shortage of buttons to push, which is always a good thing in my book.

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

A view taken near the entrance.

The Crystal, east London - world’s largest urban sustainability centre

Crystal Cafe, Royal Docks, London

Once you’ve finished shuffling around the ‘global knowledge hub ‘ that is The Crystal, there’s a rather splendid cafe to visit. Shame there was no sustainable china cups on offer, but the food and coffee weren’t bad at all.

More info:

The Crystal
Royal Victoria Docks 1
E16 1GB London
www.thecrystal.org/
o207 055 6400

Opening hours
Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (please check before setting out).
Admission free.

Cafe opening hours:
Monday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm